Lisa and I have been speaking the last few days at a conference for IFES staff and students from throughout Central Asia. It is called Formacion, a Spanish word meaning “Formation” and indicating the transforming work of God in our lives. The conference is taught in English and Russian, but talks are being translated into Armenian, Georgian, or Azeri (the language of Azerbaijan). At home, I find it distracting when someone is talking while I am leading a group session, but in this case I am grateful for those talkers—they are working very hard to translate my words into the language of the small group of students from their country so that they can understand what is being said. What would feel like a distracting cacophony has become for me a euphonious symbol of the challenges and the joys of cross-cultural communication.
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Rich and Lisa Lamb